Rugby World Cup 2011: Jannie Du Plessis highlights Welsh pack power

Jannie du Plessis
Prop Jannie du Plessis has won 26 South Africa caps

Wales' pack strength was behind South Africa naming five forwards on the bench for Sunday's World Cup clash, says prop Jannie du Plessis.

The World Cup holders have a full front-row on the bench and flanker Willem Alberts, who made a big impact in their November 2010 clash.

Du Plessis said: "The Welsh pack is good.

"They are a settled pack, so picking five forwards and two backs is really quite a compliment."

Du Plessis packs down alongside Tendai Mtawarira and 2007 Cup-winning skipper John Smit against a Welsh starting trio of Paul James, Huw Bennett and Adam Jones.

British and Irish Lion Jones featured in only the last of Wales' three warm-up games, the 28-13 win over Argentina on 20 August after suffering a toe injury while Bennett owes his place to hooker Matthew Rees' neck injury.

James has played in all Wales' 10 Tests in 2011 in the absence of another Lion, Gethin Jenkins, one of three players absent from Sunday's contest because of a calf injury.

But those absentees do nothing to persuade Du Plessis that South Africa face a stern test.

He said: "I think it's brilliant that we play a tough game right from the start because then you can get right into the thing.

"It's not like you can postpone a big challenge."

Coach Peter de Villiers also left little to the imagination over the direct approach his side will take.

He said: "The first game, there are a few things we want to try out. I believe we've got a really strong bench.

"You like to play to your strengths, and that's the reason we went for that [five forwards].

"We know what we want to achieve out of this game, and the make-up of the bench actually goes for that."

South Africa have won 23 of their previous 25 games against Wales, although Sunday's encounter is the first World Cup meeting between the two nations.

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